There are many reasons why you may want to end your legal representation when you are going through a divorce and you may be confused or overwhelmed as to how to go about it.
If you are currently being represented by a lawyer, as long as your all paid up for the legal fees you’ve accrued up until the point you decide that you no longer want to be represented, then you have the right to end their representation of you.
We've written a blog to help you understand why and how you can end your legal representation if you are going through a divorce in England or Wales.
Common reasons why you may no longer want your divorce lawyer
- You aren’t satisfied
- Lack of communication or availability
- Cost (too expensive)
- Misconduct or malpractice
- You have found an alternative (such as amicable)
How to end your legal representation
You have the right to change your solicitor or terminate their representation, at any time, however, you might need to read through the terms and conditions you agreed to when you first instructed them to represent you.
Once you have informed your lawyer that you wish to end their representation, you will also need to notify the courts and any other relevant parties, which can be done through Form FP8 which is often referred to as ‘notice of acting’ or ‘notice of change’.
This will tell the relevant parties that:
- You are newly being represented, or
- You have changed your legal representative, or
- You are no longer being represented and are a litigant in person
If you are newly represented and are updating the courts with this information, then your lawyer will complete this form for you. If you are ending your representation then you will need to complete it yourself.
Copies of this form must be sent to any previous legal representatives, any parties involved in your case and the owning court.
You can find out more information about this here.
Is there a deadline?
In theory, you can change or end your legal representation at any point. We frequently see customers seeking our services when they have already instructed solicitors. Normally the couple decides that they would rather use a couple's service, such as amicable, to reach an agreement as smoothly as possible without having to pay two sets of legal fees. If you are in the middle or have just started proceedings, you should be able to leave your solicitors and update the court with a ‘notice of acting’.
If you’ve gone through the court process and final orders have been granted, then you may be a little too late to seek to change or end your representation. However, there are conditions whereby you might seek to appeal an order based on new information etc, this would require help from a divorce lawyer.
When do I need a divorce lawyer?
There is a common misconception, with many people not being aware that you can divorce without instructing lawyers. Of course, there are scenarios whereby legal representation might be more appropriate, and we’ve explained them in full in this guide, and summarised a few examples where you might need a lawyer below:
- Protection if your ex is abusive
- Your ex is hiding assets or refusing to disclose
- You have complicated assets
- You need your corner fought
- Your ex won't cooperate
In most cases, you won’t need a lawyer or legal representation throughout the divorce process, especially if you aren’t seeking a financial remedy order. You can read our full guide to divorce here, which tells you what the various options are.
If you need any help with your children or financial arrangements, amicable offer a lawyer free alternative to help you to negotiate and agree upon your arrangements. We also draft all the legal paperwork and depending on the service this will include a consent order which makes your financial arrangements legally binding. Uniquely, we work with you both to reduce conflict and make the process as stress-free as possible.